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Apple sliced horizontally with dollar bills between slices.
Education privatizers are using the courts to get at a larger slice of the apple.
Ask yourself one question: what's the biggest challenge preventing children from economically disadvantaged, minority neighborhoods from receiving a quality public education?

There are a lot of things you could say. Massive budget shortfalls. Buildings in a state of disrepair. Inadequate infrastructure and facilities. A massive disparity in funding between districts with haves and districts with have-nots. Insufficient access to technology. Or perhaps even an unsafe environment with a constant, low-level threat of overhanging violence.

But if you're a group of Silicon Valley billionaires and corporate moguls desperately trying to figure out how to privatize California's public education system in the face an unwilling public and an unwilling legislature, you might come up with a different answer to the biggest threat facing such children: due process for teachers. And then you just might found a shiny nonprofit as a front and hire a high-powered legal team to file a lawsuit to get the courts to eliminate those due process protections.

Sounds ridiculous? It's not. It's happening right now on the West Coast, where the Vergara v. California trial is in full swing.

Please read below the fold for more on this story.

The lawsuit is funded by a group called Students Matter, which is headed up by Silicon Valley entrepreneur David Welch and counts among its supporters notable figures in the anti-union, pro-charter, school privatization movement such as Michelle Rhee of StudentsFirst and Eli Broad. Students Matter has brought on the legal team headed by Ted Olson, best known for being President George W. Bush's Solicitor General and winning the Perry v. Schwarzenegger case that overturned Proposition 8 and restored marriage equality to California. It seeks to overturn five basic laws that allow teachers to be flexible and dynamic in the classroom, including tenure protections and the right to a fair hearing in case of accusations of misconduct. The suit alleges that these laws violate the California Constitution by denying children in public schools their constitutionally given right to a quality public education.

This suit seems ridiculous on its face: in order to prove their case, it seems like the plaintiffs would have to prove that eliminating these protections would result in objectively better teachers, which seems like a hard case to make. And even though Students Matter has carefully selected as plaintiffs students from underprivileged backgrounds who were allegedly harmed by laws that allowed "underperforming teachers" to stay in the classroom, the suit would have to prove not just that these particular students were harmed, but that the harm that was done to these nine students should compel the state to void these five laws, regardless of the systemic effects. And if the suit succeeds on those merits, there could be very serious national consequences. As Karoli Kuns writes at Crooks and Liars:

Teacher evaluation is controversial for a number of reasons, most having to do with unionbusters' goals to point at tenured teachers as ineffective in order to clear the decks for the next wave of billionaire-backed TFA candidates. There is no agreement about how such evaluations should be done, and plenty of argument about how they shouldn't be.

It concerns me that the judge has allowed this lawsuit to continue after the plaintiffs presented their case, because it suggests that the underlying theory of 'harm one, harm all' may be one that Judge Treu agrees with. If he does, a decision affirming that theory could upend years of employment and education law not only in California, but across the nation.

That outcome would please the self-anointed education-reforming billionaires, who view teachers' unions as the last remaining barrier to a full corporate takeover of public education. If they're able to break teachers, they figure they own the whole "market."

And let's make no mistake: this lawsuit has nothing to do with guaranteeing a quality public education, and everything to do with trying to eliminate what the supporters of Students Matter believe is the biggest obstacle to a privatized education system. California's schools were among the best in the nation all the way through the 1970s, when voters approved Proposition 13, which significantly decreased the amount of revenue collected from property taxes and prevented local governments from passing their own local measures to raise revenues without having at least a two-thirds supermajority vote. Perhaps Students Matter could file a lawsuit against Proposition 13 instead?

With these billionaires and privatizers, however, hypocrisy isn't a bug; it's a feature. The economic collapse of 2008 forced billions and billions of dollars in cuts to California's education system—cuts that Democrats worked on at least partially restoring by passing a ballot measure called Proposition 30, which provided for a temporary increase in both sales taxes and income tax rates on the wealthy in order to keep our public education system solvent. And yet, some of these same billionaires who are promoting the Vergara lawsuit gave millions of dollars to the effort to oppose Proposition 30 and pass Proposition 32, which would have forbade unions from making political contributions in California. And not only that, they gave those donations through a series of shell entities that were specifically created to provide anonymity, but have since been unmasked.

The Vergara lawsuit has nothing to do with a good education for the disadvantaged, and has everything to do with destroying the power of unions. And if it succeeds, it could set a very dangerous precedent across the nation.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Not if they're smart. (9+ / 0-)

      Unions do a lot of GOTV and not for the GOP.

      Here I am, now. Entertain me.

      by blueoregon on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 06:59:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  For Decades............ (5+ / 0-)

        inner city school kids have been getting the shaft - the public schools are failing them.  

        And yes, I know there are numerous reasons why this has happened for decades, but I firmly believe (and I know I am going to piss some people off here) that part of the problem, and note I said part, is teacher tenure.

        In California, teacher tenure is obtained after two years, and as a result, bad teachers are never rooted out of the system, and a lot of them end up teaching at inner city schools, hence the constant cycle.

        While I disagree with most of what is in this lawsuit, I do agree that the lawsuit has nothing to do with a good education for the disadvantaged - but neither does the current system we have.

        Until we change the current system and start getting better results for these kids, lawsuits are going keep popping up because the current system we have is a complete failure.

        "The quote on the Statue of Liberty doesn't say 'give me your english-speaking only, Christian-believing, heterosexual masses'

        by unapologeticliberal777 on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 04:55:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You misunderstand the term "tenure." (32+ / 0-)

          All it does is guarantee that there must be a documented reason for dismissal. If there is documentation, a teacher can be dismissed. If there are "bad" teachers in the classroom ( and how do you determine that, hmmm?) the fault lay at the feet of administrators who didn't do their jobs and document problems. End of story. Quit repeating the right wing BS.

          "If they give you ruled paper, write the other way" Juan Ramon Jimnez

          by Teiresias70 on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 06:13:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  San Jose just asked for a waiver for a 3 year (7+ / 0-)

          tenure process. They stated as their reason that of the 7 teachers they are dismissing after two years, there are two on the bubble that they'd like to give another year.

          IE: they would like to give these marginal teachers another year in the classroom... that is how they would use the extra time before staff became permanent.

          Having watched the process, I think the two years is actually about right. It keeps the number of probationary teachers relatively small, and ensures that everyone can be aware of who is still probationary. It encourages the principal to remediate and address issues immediately, because there isn't a lot of time to just leave a new teacher to drift.

          Teacher turnover is more prevalent in inner city schools and IMHO it is both indicative of a problem and a problem itself. Tenure does not create that turnover. It's also not what makes inner city schools hard to staff.

          Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

          by elfling on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 08:12:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I see you have a typical answer to "tenure" (14+ / 0-)

          That is, that a teacher has a job forever....which couldn't be further from the truth.
            Tenure only gives a teacher with that status "due process" in the event that a complaint is lodged against him or her.
            The due process forces an reasonably fair investigation of the charges that are made to see if there is validity to use them to fire the teacher or put them on a plan of assistance, that if not followed by the teacher can result in the teacher's firing.
            Due process is something that citizens receive as a perk of being an American citizen. You can't be convicted of a crime unless a series of legal procedures are followed. You can't be arrested unless you are notified of certain rights.
            These things are what most American citizens are proud to have.
            Now you have a better understanding of what "tenure" is.
           

          •  "You can't be arrested unless you are... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MyOwnReality, wayneonly, debocracy

            notified of certain rights" used to be the "norm", but in this day of lunacy and depending on who's on the bench and which side the prosecutors and defending attorney's are on, anything can happen...i.e., ALL the "Stand Your Ground" lawsuits in Florida have just "happened" to fall on the side of the defendant. Bad prosecutors? NO. Prosecutors that happened to be "for" the law and are as corrupt as the t-baggers are, and just didn't give a shit what the outcome was. YES.

            The same will happen here and it sounds like the judge in this case, allowing it to go forward, is of the same ilk.

            In my time, and I REALLY hate to date myself but I remember the first time I heard "tenure", I thought it meant the you had to be a teacher for at least 10 years, (hence "ten"ure") before you could reach that "high accolade".  And that any teacher that had "tenure" was at the top of his/her field and not only enjoyed teaching but was the absolute best at doing it. I've had "tenured" teachers and they were the only ones that I actually learned from and enjoyed being taught by.

            But unfortunately, I've had more teachers that just wanted to get through the day and picked on the ones they thought were "unteachable", myself included. (I'll never forget the day she got bitten by a horsefly and had to leave the room and thought to myself, "maybe we'll get someone better"...at 8 years old!!!)

            So sorry for the rant but really just wanted to point out that things aren't like they "used" to be and we ABSOLUTELY MUST vote them OUT!!!

            •  OMG! 2 dangling prepositions (0+ / 0-)

              in a single sentence!
              I've had "tenured" teachers and they were the only ones that I actually learned from and enjoyed being taught by
              Were you raised by leprechauns??

              I've been 'bitten' by large flies, which associated with horses. I don't know if the flies were horseflies, but their sting wasn't nearly as painful as yellow jacket or (specifically unidentified) hornets' stings.

              OMG! I've gone off-topic 2 times in a single comment!

              ♥ Repeal the Capital Gains, Carried Interest & Dividends Entitlements bequeathed to 'more special' taxpayers.

              by in on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 01:35:50 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  They are not dangling prepositions. (0+ / 0-)

                "learned from" is a phrasal verb for the subject "I," and "being taught by" is a participial phrase containing another phrasal verb "taught by." The participial phrase is the direct object of the verb "enjoyed." The sentence itself has a compound predicate. Yes, it's complicated.

                I don't correct people's grammar in public forums because I think that it is a form of oppression and elitism. If a person has communicated their idea to me, then I think that that is sufficient. If not, I merely ask them what they mean.

                In an educational setting it is different and correction is expected.

                However, I don't have as much of a problem calling the grammar police on their misuse of grammatical rules, especially if they are misapplied.

                Of course you might be trying to simply provoke by picking at the inconsequential aspects of the comment. However, the commenter is defending tenure. Why aren't your replies focused on that?

                Have you enjoyed this teachable moment? Please rate according to how it made you feel and not by how much you learned from it, if anything.

                "The economy and the environment are, in fact, permanently intertwined. A healthy economy depends on a healthy environment. Can't have one without the other." -- Meteor Blades

                by politically indigo on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 09:20:04 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  relax (0+ / 0-)

                  it's a joke
                  "off-topic 2 times"

                  ♥ Repeal the Capital Gains, Carried Interest & Dividends Entitlements bequeathed to 'more special' taxpayers.

                  by in on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 12:40:34 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  relax (0+ / 0-)

                  it's a joke
                  "off-topic 2 times"

                  ♥ Repeal the Capital Gains, Carried Interest & Dividends Entitlements bequeathed to 'more special' taxpayers.

                  by in on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 12:40:46 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  relax... (0+ / 0-)

                  it's a joke
                  "off-topic 2 times"

                  ♥ Repeal the Capital Gains, Carried Interest & Dividends Entitlements bequeathed to 'more special' taxpayers.

                  by in on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 12:41:02 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  OK, if you say so, (0+ / 0-)

                    but humor is often a mask for hostility. Your initial response didn't seem malicious, but you didn't qualify it very well. "off-topic 2 times" is kind of self-centered. Your comment made it look like you were blowing off the main point the person was trying to make.

                    Making fun and ignoring what a person is saying generally indicate a hostile attitude even if that wasn't your intention.

                    Even in your response to me, you do not address the substance of what I said. You can believe that I'm the one with the problem, and you are probably right, but your attitude isn't any less of a problem.

                    "The economy and the environment are, in fact, permanently intertwined. A healthy economy depends on a healthy environment. Can't have one without the other." -- Meteor Blades

                    by politically indigo on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 07:16:18 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  For Decades... (25+ / 0-)

          I'm sorry, unapologetic, I have to take issue with several of your statements.

          Full disclosure.  I'm a product of 12 years of (private) Catholic schools.  I'm married to a (unionized) HS teacher.  I also have a BS degree -- for which I was required to learn to think.

          Are there bad teachers?  Absolutely.  Just like there are bad lawyers, bad doctors, bad plumbers, and bad trash collectors.

          There is one very important reason for teacher tenure.  

          Public school systems (at least in NY, where I reside) are run by a local Board of Education.  Seats on the BoE are earned by public vote.  There are school districts in which eminently qualified individuals garner seats -- scientists, doctors, pharmacists, plumbers, and the like.  There are also school districts wherein BoE members obtain a seat because they're popular around town.  The point being -- there is no requirement (as for most jobs) that there be any knowledge whatsoever of the running of a School Board.

          When you're a teacher, sooner or later you end up having a kid in the class whose mommy or daddy is on the school board.  Or mayor.  Or president of the local CofC.  Or some similar hotshot.  Some mayors have studious kids.  Some hotshots have kids who don't give a damn about education.  Without tenure, it's far too easy for a hotshot to go after a teacher who had the temerity (OMG!) to give his/her kid a failing grade.  Or even a less-than-bodacious one.  Of course, destroying the poor kid's college entrance, future, and the like.

          Poor teachers will turn out poorly-taught kids.  But the teacher can not be held responsible for failing to teach a kid who refuses to learn, or even to go through the most basic motions such as turning in assignments.

          Tenure exists to shield the teacher from the politicization of the job.  It exists to ensure that the teacher who is doing his/her best is not blackmailed.  And there are legitimate channels to eliminate truly-bad teachers, should the need exist.

          Meanwhile, back at the ranch -- the Nation screams that we need better results from the educational system.  Obviously the reason kids fail is that the teachers are bad.  Not that the kid is not held responsible, at home, for doing the schoolwork.  Not that the teen is permitted to stay out evenings until all hours, and is unable to function the following morning.  Etc., etc.

          And that same Nation squawks about teacher hours (they've never seen the number of off-hours hours a teacher works), or teacher salaries (they don't seem to notice that other occupations that require assorted college degrees pay at least as well, or better).  Etc., etc.

          And at the same time, the financial squeeze is exerted upon school districts.  Who then eliminate AP classes.  Who drop classes in the arts.  (But don't touch the football program!)  Who allow schools to try to function with leaky roofs, poor ventilation, overcrowding, and so on.  In NY, the majority of school funding is provided by property taxes upon district residents.  This automatically creates a divide between poor and affluent districts.  A better allocation of resources would help.

          But in the end, it's far too easy to blame the teachers for kids' failures.  Let me ask you this: I heard very little forty years ago (as an adult) about bad schools; bad teachers.  Do we honestly believe that, suddenly, the teachers have all gone bad?  Or is it possible that society, as a whole, is not giving the teachers the requisite resources and personal support to ensure that the kids succeed?

          •  Exactly. Couldn't of put it better. (7+ / 0-)

            Teachers are not the real problem here, and they're unjustly being targeted. Why is that? Mostly because Republicans know unions don't serve their interests, and teacher's unions most of all. Also, because people are misinformed, and our mainstream media isn't helping. Then there is a tendency for some parents not to want to take responsibility for their own culpability.

            •  Rupert Murdoch said it best: (11+ / 0-)

              "When it comes to K through 12 education, we see a $500 billion sector in the U.S."

              The groups pushing for school privatization don't see well educated students preparing for their future lives, they see a $500 Billion market sector that's ripe for the taking.  

              First they're going to do their best to tear public education down a piece at a time.  Through charter schools, vouchers, standardized curriculum and testing, school funding cuts, and attacking teachers in the media.  Saying they earn too much, their benefits are too good, they get summers off, they don't deserve tenure, etc.  In the end the wealthy get wealthier while our children get fed corporate propaganda in corporate run "schools", as has already happened.

              •  True, and that shouldn't be overlooked. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                CitizensArrest, Luv2luvU

                Conservative are trying to apply the "shock doctrine" to our education system.

              •  The 1999 Merril Lynch white paper (4+ / 0-)

                "Investing in Education" described in detail the forces that investors and Wall St itself would have to overcome, parents, teachers and their unions and administration. This has never been a secret and is not the only example of the privatizers shills telling prospective investors what the game plan was. They just had to ramp up the spin when the push back against the hostile takeover of public education was far greater than expected

                •  It may not have been a secret, but neither were (0+ / 0-)

                  they broadcasting it to the public. And why haven't Democratic politicians been exposing what's going on instead of playing along.

                  "The economy and the environment are, in fact, permanently intertwined. A healthy economy depends on a healthy environment. Can't have one without the other." -- Meteor Blades

                  by politically indigo on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:21:30 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  The Often (Intentionally) Missed Problem (6+ / 0-)
            Meanwhile, back at the ranch -- the Nation screams that we need better results from the educational system. Obviously the reason kids fail is that the teachers are bad. Not that the kid is not held responsible, at home, for doing the schoolwork. Not that the teen is permitted to stay out evenings until all hours, and is unable to function the following morning. Etc., etc.
            The people who squawk about the educational system often misplace the problem. You note a few. But many of them are symptoms of a deeper problem. The problem lies in our culture. We have a culture where so many bash teachers at every opportunity, a culture which glorifies athletes and celebrities, a culture which worships business people who become millionaires and billionaires, a culture in which many actively despise mathematics and couldn't care less about science, even actively rejecting it, and see the arts and literature as worthless. But its our educational system that's a mess? It's our teachers that are a problem?

            "Students Matter"? "Students First"? Yeah, right. They are all about trying to make money and profits out of education. That's what matters to them. That's what's first. Not only is this the case for the would be education profiters, but also all the business interests who merely want vocational training for the cogs for their business rather than actual education. Working to actually fix the cultural problem that surrounds education won't work in their favor. So, yes, blame it on the system and the teachers and whatever you like, but don't actually address how our culture values, or actually doesn't value, education.

            •  "Students Matter"? "Students First"? (0+ / 0-)

              That teachers aren't paid CEO level compensation is empirical evidence (overwhelming enough to be 'proof') that teachers don't have the 'extortionist' political clout that the TSM claims.

              TSM easily defeats teachers verbalizing "kids first" when also defending compensation.
              Apparently the public cannot firmly comprehend two interdependent standards.

              Maybe that's why "must attract top talent" successfully sells for the oligarchs. They never claim any standard of productive value. Their single demand is higher compensation.
              Where's the TSM's clamor for  'standardized tests' of CEO results?

              ♥ Repeal the Capital Gains, Carried Interest & Dividends Entitlements bequeathed to 'more special' taxpayers.

              by in on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 03:06:05 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Instead of blaming teachers, (8+ / 0-)

          Maybe we could first divvy up school funding so that all school districts have the same per pupil amount to spend, and that all students attend safe, clean school buildings.

          •  School funding... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mchristi314, bethann, Luv2luvU

            I am not disagreeing with your point about property taxes, but it is a little more complicated. Presumably, all the schools in a school district share the same combined tax base and yet some neighborhoods have crumbling, failing schools, violence, and high dropout rates. Others, in the same district with the same amount of per capita spending on students have shiny new schools, little violence, and low drop out rates.  Obviously the allocation of funds is uneven, to put it mildly.  Worst of all, in our "post-racial" world, the glaring truth is that the losing schools are all but 100% in minority neighborhoods.
            Guess which schools the privatizers are targeting?

            Another very large factor which is a direct result of the Tea Baggers is reduced property taxes. While all the Tea Baggers are patting each other on the back, the Tea Baggers with children in the schools are paying all kinds of extra fees for extra-curricular activities, band, orchestra, chorus, drama, art, even sports, that used to be part of the district budget and allowed EVERYONE to participate.  Band was what kept me going in high school back in the early 60's. Being a single high school in a small town with nothing but other small towns in the Eastern half of New Mexico, all our "away" games really were away and required transportation. These days parents who want their kids in band have to pay directly for bus trips, cleaning uniforms, fees for many instruments like oboes, bassoons, and bass clarinet (I played piccolo which belonged to the school). I would have been denied the very best part of high school if my parents had had to come up with the $1,000 or so per year that parents today have to come up with.  No problem for the Tea Baggers who built their businesses single handedly. Big problem for the people who work for the Tea Baggers.
            Do you think the privatizers will give a ** if students have a chance for theses experiences?
            There is just so much more, much much more, than the teachers -- although it is teachers that direct all these activities.

            Is it time to start busing again? Those crumbling schools might see some repairs, or even a replacement, if Biff had to go to one of the schools.

            I am a home owner and my child is no longer in school, but higher property taxes earmarked for education is something I would vote for in a heart beat.

            •  Property tax and education (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bethann

              I, too, would vote for higher property taxes to fund education in a heart beat. I would do so with no reservations for education funding. But I would do so with reservations about property taxes going to education. I'm far from certain that our linking of property taxes to education funding is helpful. It leads to so much disparity between districts based on factors that have nothing to do with the population or needs of the school district, and everything to do with whether a given area has high or low property values. Given that property values, poverty, and educational outcomes are linked in so many ways, such disparities become all the more a matter of injustice. I'd rather see public education, including the needed facilities, funded on a statewide basis through personal income and corporate taxes, and simply get rid of property taxes all together.

        •  unwarranted assumptions much? (0+ / 0-)

          It is well known and not contested that the breakdown of what accounts for student success in school is as follows: in school factors are 20% of which about 1/2 is teacher factors. Administration and peer effects are the other 10%. 60% are out of school factors such as family wealth, education of parents, health, etc. 20% is noise, things un measured or unaccounted for or unseen. Focusing on teachers as the predominant cause of the problem is BOGUS. Another little factoid to go along with this, SAT scores are correlated 1 to 1 with increases in family wealth. The wealthier the family, the better the score. This has been known of for decades, so the SAT, including its shiny new (not) version is really a measure of wealth, not academics. Microsoft just dropped the Stack Ranking evaluation system that caused their lost decade, so why is that idiot Gates insisting it's rebranded for education version still be used on schools and teachers? Stack Ranking caused an outflow of talent and the loss of collaboration among other negative effects. The people pushing the plaintiffs in this case chose to ignore all that.

    •  Corporate dems? (0+ / 0-)

      Yeah, lets make sure the republicans win by dividing the dems.  Then we'll have real democracy and justice.

  •  it's more about Viagra than Vergara (19+ / 0-)
    The lawsuit is funded by a group called Students Matter, which is headed up by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Jack Welch and counts among its supporters notable figures in the anti-union, pro-charter, school privatization movement such as Michelle Rhee of StudentsFirst and Eli Broad.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 04:45:52 PM PDT

  •  Well, semi-national implications. (5+ / 0-)

    It involves a section of the California constitution, not the federal one.

    That being said, right to education clauses are present in many state constitutions.  Positive right clauses like this one are almost always bad ideas, as give the judiciary veto power over almost any legislation that could nebulously harm the "right."

    •  They've been good for a few places (6+ / 0-)

      The Florida state constitution also has an affirmative "right to a quality education" clause, and it has been the only thing blocking the bagger legislature from pulling a Jindal and implementing a full voucher system.

      (-2.38, -3.28) Independent thinker

      by TrueBlueDem on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 05:20:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  problem is (11+ / 0-)

        it's not quantifiable.  It it were it would be easy to find what works and what doesn't. High on tests doesn't correlate to anything outside of academic achievement (or, high on tests).  Some of our most creative research people and successful inventors didn't finish college.  

        While kids in other countries may perform better on tests than our kids, our kids get to live here and that gives them tremendous advantages. For just one, there is the community college system, that allows high school drop outs to try again and if they earn a's, get into a great four-year college.  

        We need more trade schools and professional schools so all kids can have a chance to get rich in the trades, not just kids with union dads with connections, and it's probably very important to keep kids in school, because they're safer in school and likely to develop interests and find callings, (even when they won't necessarily perform better on international comparison standard tests)  so schools should be places kids want to be.  All the baby cramming is important to those Silicon Valley types who want to brag about how much smarter their babies are, but the truth is that Americans are more creative and better at taking risks because we have cushions to fall on and an easier time starting over, not because we were more educated at younger ages.

        the big reason our universities are the highest rated, is that they really do grade fairly, George Bush got to finish Yale with gentlemen 'c's, but today he would not be admitted.  If you get a degree from a public college, it's a real degree, it's been earned.  That's the reason rich parents are into preparing their children, because their kids actually have to score highly, they can't get in on money and they can't purchase their grades once admitted.

        We need universal pre-school, because language is installed when kids are very little, and so little kids need to be exposed to a lot of language.  And then we need more trade schools and more community colleges, so that more young adults can start over if they screwed up a first opportunity or if their schools didn't have the coursework that would have grabbed them.

        And the biggest boost will be ACA, because that gives employment flexibility.  I think my dear old dad would have been an inventor, or been part of some group start up, if he hadn't had a wife and kids so had to stick to a job that provided health benefits, but took up most of his time.

        Vouchers are a way to privatize and let educational corporations earn bucks, like outsourcing in the military. Public teachers will get paid the least, and have the worse classrooms, and services.  And the Silicon point is probably to 'defend' their own silly choice in paying fortunes for private schools for their kids and caring too much about how highly their fifth grader tested in 'the core.'  

        I have no idea why we would want to copy any country that saps the joy from learning and piles on rote work and multiple choice tests.  We're ahead in every measure post high school, shouldn't that be great?  

        The rich will always have advantages the rest of us will never have, and school vouchers won't change that, they'll just make money for some fellow who has invested in charter schools but whose own kids attend elite private schools.  And if his kid gets a higher paying job, it will be from connections, maybe made at Harvard, that's how the elites keep it for themselves.  

        •  Gonna have to disagree with some of (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          chrisculpepper, Ljanney, DSPS owl

          this:

          If you get a degree from a public college, it's a real degree, it's been earned.  That's the reason rich parents are into preparing their children, because their kids actually have to score highly, they can't get in on money and they can't purchase their grades once admitted.
          In a word, bullshit. I read and graded for a friend who taught freshman art history at CSU Hayward and most of the kids coming out of public high schools in the Bay area were functioning on, maybe, a fifth grade level. No more than 8th grade. Some of the ESL students did better. Between grade inflation and social promotion, those kids were coming out of HS with barely the skills to get them into it.

          And don't even get me started on plagiarism, more than half those kids would have been bounced for plagiarizing routine papers. I kept trying to get the university to add a special workshop for freshman orientation as to what constituted plagiarism so that the little darlings would actually understand what they were doing was wrong. Couldn't get any traction for it, nobody wanted to admit it was a huge problem. If I'd been teaching the classes, those kids would have been brought up on charges for plagiarism and most of the rest would have gotten D's, what they earned.

          So, no, education from a public college doesn't necessarily mean you've 'earned' anything. It means you showed up enough to be given a pass through a bunch of classes, very few of which required active thought or work, much less extensive learning.

          Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. ~The Druid.
          ~Ideals aren't goals, they're navigation aids.~

          by FarWestGirl on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 03:07:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  IL Constitution (8+ / 0-)

      Constitution of the State of Illinois ARTICLE X

      SECTION 1.  GOAL - FREE SCHOOLS
          A fundamental goal of the People of the State is the educational development of all persons to the limits of their capacities.
          The State shall provide for an efficient system of high quality public educational institutions and services. Education in public schools through the secondary level shall be free. There may be such other free education as the General Assembly provides by law.
          The State has the primary responsibility for financing the system of public education.
      Nothing is said at all about what the structure of that school system must be.

      Notice also section 3:

      SECTION 3. PUBLIC FUNDS FOR SECTARIAN PURPOSES FORBIDDEN
          Neither the General Assembly nor any county, city, town, township, school district, or other public corporation, shall ever make any appropriation or pay from any public fund whatever, anything in aid of any church or sectarian purpose, or to help support or sustain any school, academy, seminary, college, university, or other literary or scientific institution, controlled by any church or sectarian
      denomination whatever; nor shall any grant or donation of land, money, or other personal property ever be made by the State, or any such public corporation, to any church, or for any sectarian purpose.

      -7.75 -4.67

      "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

      There are no Christians in foxholes.

      by Odysseus on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 07:25:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  California is not the only place this attitude (4+ / 0-)

      toward teachers, and their rights and responsibilities,  exists.  Every bastion of our former stability as a nation is being attacked in every state in the union.  Corporations want slave labor... dumb slave labor.  They want humans who will accept being treated inhumanely by those who want to squeeze the dollars from them to increase their billions.  To me, the blatant attacks are a sign that they believe they are close to the tipping point, where we can do nothing about this.  Trace a odorous lawsuit like this back to the money and you will find a billionaire exercising his new right to control everything around him due to his net worth.

      Note: Get ready, it's almost time for good people in every state to panic.  Oh, wait... that was 2012.  Sorry.  We missed our opportunity.

  •  In schools and everywhere else (28+ / 0-)

    you can only have good employees if their bosses can fire them on a whim, if they can be kept in a constant state of fear.

    Take those things away and the rabble gets a little too big for its collective britches.

    liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

    by RockyMtnLib on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 04:49:44 PM PDT

    •  yes anxiety (12+ / 0-)

      terror and hate are necessary for creative productivity and for quality work relationships, obviously.

    •  citations please, and forget WalMart, we already (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CitizensArrest, DSPS owl

      know how they think.  Years and years of prosperity for ALL working classes of people in these United States says otherwise.  When employees lose all hope of moving up, bettering themselves and awaken every morning to the sword hanging over their heads there is NO WAY they can give their best and do their best.  Why would they want to, it's just a matter of time until their turn on the bread line will come.  Employers and supervisors have become as slave owners, and you know how slave owners ended up.

      We lived in L. A. in the sixties and while we were a young family with one income, we took our kids somewhere fun every weekend, we never heard of a credit card or a loan company and we always had a reasonably nice home, a two year old car, and enough paid vacation to go see the grandparents once a year.  My husband got periodic raises, and the entire company got bonuses when a contract completed ahead of schedule.  Every company had quality control that ruled the roost and good job performance was honored with cash because the owners knew that's why people worked, to get ahead.

      Nowadays, ignorance apparently starts at the top.  Being wealthy sure doesn't make them any smarter.

  •  Of course the unions are to blame (40+ / 0-)

    The unions are in the boardrooms of corporations making policy.

    They are well-represented among the executive class in this country.

    They are in charge of state education departments across America.

    They form the majority in state legislatures, and in the federal government.

    Except they don't, do they?

    They will blame everyone EXCEPT those who make the decisions.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    Who is twigg?

    by twigg on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 04:54:17 PM PDT

  •  you mean jack welch (23+ / 0-)

    GE-NBC? that guy... who whispered into Tom Brokhaws ear

    "call it for Bush"

    Let me level with you: The only way we're going to achieve our goals is by electing more Democrats in 2014. Chip in $$ or to help elect Democrats to a Congress we can all be proud of ~ fundraising email Pres. Obama

    by anyname on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 05:05:35 PM PDT

  •  You've described a lawsuit that can't be won. (5+ / 0-)

    Do you have any basis for thinking it could be won?  Sometimes people (creationists, for instance) sue because it gives them a public platform, and it sounds like this is one of those cases.  Although I do like the idea that anything can be overturned if it violates a vague constitutional tenet: can Republicans be removed from power administratively, and imprisoned besides, because the Constitution says we should be free?

    It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

    by Rich in PA on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 05:15:43 PM PDT

  •  A question... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FarWestGirl

    Is this suit in Federal court or State court? The judge is?
    Know anything about the Judge, who appointed, etc?

    "....at last in virtue's narrow cell, the wretched bondsman sits"-Auden

    by pixelate on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 05:21:52 PM PDT

  •  This is about control of the population... (6+ / 0-)

    ...by a nascent aristocracy...or oligarchy if you prefer. It's the second cousin to efforts by creationists to get creationism taught in public schools. It's the end of us if we fold up nationally...like we have so far with everything else the 1% has forced down our throats.

    All the gains of the progressive era, the New Deal, the Great Society, all of them are going away, because we can't stand up to their money.

    The front runner for the Democratic nominee for president, someone supported by the majority of DK members, gave a speech on Wall Street last December outing herself as an enabler of the 1%. Instead of outrage, all she gets back from such an egregious act is love from the people she will abuse.

    If it seems like I'm channeling former DK member and GBCW poster Ray Pensador...well, maybe I am. Someone has to point out that politics isn't a game of who wins, it is a contest of ideas...and the ideas of progressivism, which once allowed the people of the United States to flourish, are losing.

    Join Essa in a revolt against the gods. Continue the fight, Causality.

    by rbird on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 05:39:48 PM PDT

  •  There are some interesting tails to this... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mkor7, FarWestGirl

    If a union denies 'due process', doesn't the advantage of wealth and connections also deny 'due process'.  I know this has been successfully argued before, but this seems to take it to a higher level.  There might be tails the claimants don't want....

    And we love to wear a badge, a uniform / And we love to fly a flag But I won't...let others live in hell / As we divide against each other And we fight amongst ourselves

    by ban48 on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 05:49:57 PM PDT

  •  Remember that phrase! "Due process"!! (27+ / 0-)

    That's what union worker protections are really about - the right to due process and not being fired arbitrarily on a whim.  I'm the chief steward for the nurses union at my hospital and I deal with discipline cases all the time.  And I've helped on organizing drives at other hospitals.  Over and over I hear this stupid lie that unions prevent bad or incompetent workers from being replaced.  No, we don't.  But we do require that they be given due process - a pretty basic American value.  Any manager anywhere who says they can't get rid of a bad worker "because of the union" is really saying they are to bone lazy to do their own job properly - make expectations clear to the worker, document how they are failing, give them notice of how they are failing and what they need to do to correct that and document their failure to correct it.  The equivalent of the documentation every nurse does as part of their patient care every day.  

    "Wouldn't you rather vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want - and get it?" Eugene Debs. "Le courage, c'est de chercher la verité et de la dire" Jean Jaures

    by Chico David RN on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 05:54:36 PM PDT

    •  Yup. (7+ / 0-)

      And then those same overpriced executives who bitch about unions protecting bad workers go on to replaced skilled workers with workers who have no idea what they're doing and no one to properly train them because profit profit profit.

      Profit for the sake of profit is the ideology of a hoarder like growth for the cancer cell. Something's gotta give.

      I write a series called 'My Life as an Aspie', documenting my experiences before and after my A.S. diagnosis as a way to help fellow Aspies and parents of Aspies and spread awareness. If I help just one person by doing this, then I've served a purpose.

      by Homer177 on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 06:02:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Im afraid there are structures within unions (4+ / 0-)

      that can impede the firing of a teacher that shouldn't be teaching anymore, and I say that as someone who believes unions are vital.  In my local elementary/middle school district they have been trying for 4 years to unload a teacher that is not a personal menace to the kids, but who has not been a good teacher for years-the paper trail is there, but because of the due process being as it is today, it has cost our cash strapped district $80000 in legal fees, while the teacher is covered by the teachers union.  It is an arduous process, and Im sorry, but having been involved it seems too arduous to just get rid of someone who doesn't care about the children anymore.

      •  sounds fishy to me (10+ / 0-)

        it doesn't cost all that to fire a bad teacher even with tenure. If the teacher were that bad it wouldn't take 4 years. If it is costing the district that much it sounds like they don't have a case. Sounds like the teacher just pissed the wrong person off. In my experience they go after the better teachers that take risks, ones the Board members or principals don't like. Those are the cases that drag on, not the ones that are legitimate. And unless you are an administrator in the case, you have no idea what the paper trail is; and if someone from the administration told you than that teacher will be getting a hefty settlement in addition to keeping his job.

        •  Yes, I'm sick ot these ridiculous anecdotes. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mkor7, drklassen, mchristi314, leftangler

          These crap anecdotes about "teachers can't be fired" is just the welfare-queen myth all over again. It's a disgusting pack of lies.

          "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

          by nosleep4u on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 06:10:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  wow, you dont live in my district and no (0+ / 0-)

            absolutely NOTHING about the specific situation, but please, offer your detailed, unbiased, constructive thoughts.  And I would ask you not to call me a liar without a shred of knowledge on me, or my situation.

            •  If you have such detailed knowledge, you are (0+ / 0-)

              either an administrator who shouldn't be writing about this, or someone has leaked confidential personnel info to you, and the teacher is going to sue the district and win. Simple. Or you are full of shit ( likely ).

          •  Not lies. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            zmom

            These are not lies.  I can tell you from direct experience.  It costs around six figures to terminate a teacher, and no one starts in on a "bad" case because of that.  Only the very worst have termination actions started against them, because it is not worth the financial risk to move forward on a bad case.  Administrators and boards have to be selective.  Maybe that's a reason to keep the rules.  But, it is absolutely true that it costs a ridiculous amount to terminate a teacher.  (That doesn't count all the costs to the district if it loses the case.)

            I believe in unions, and I think they are important. I completely understand the knee jerk reaction of saying, "no way, this isn't true."  Workers, other than teachers, who have unions and due process protections (including non-teaching employees of school districts) have completely reasonable and necessary protections, and that the systems work well.  But, it routinely costs around six figures to terminate a teacher, and, for teachers who are merely incompetent, several years of staff time.  

            It is completely reasonable to think that the expense and risk of terminating a teacher is worth it, and that the current laws contain needed and required protections.  But, one has to accept at least the financial realities of the situation.  They're facts, not myths.

            •  It is not accurate to say it costs six figures (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              leftangler

              to terminate a teacher.

              It is true that there are cases that run that much, and it is especially so in LA Unified, whose sheer size seems to keep it from managing its people effectively.

              Only around 50% of the people who start out as teachers are still teachers 5 years in. That's a tremendous amount of sifting right there. In California, you can remove a teacher for any reason or no reason in the first two years of employment in the district. Some leave then. Some realize on their own that teaching is hard work for low pay, or that they're not good at it. And some are hired away by other entities... my daughter's wonderful and excellent 5th grade teacher makes more money managing a wine tasting room full time, where she used to work summers to make ends meet.

              Principals have other tools to get teachers out who are not working out. They include "counseling out" - IE, persuading the teacher to leave of his own accord. Retirement incentives can also be effective with an older teacher.

              So at the end of the day, most districts can and do get teachers to leave for a lot less than a six figure legal bill.

              That said, I think the process could be less expensive and more streamlined. IMHO, if the principal, superintendent, and school board want a teacher out, it's probably a caustic situation where the teacher won't be able to do her best work, even if she is right and the administration is wrong. The process can go through a judge/third party to agree that all the steps were followed without it being so involved. Perhaps that third party can be involved earlier on, as documentation is collected.

              Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

              by elfling on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 07:26:27 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  And yet you provide no facts.... (0+ / 0-)
        •  So, according to your "assessment", there can (0+ / 0-)

          be no teachers that shouldn't be teaching anymore.  No teachers who perhaps have lost the passion and desire for their jobs, or who have so many personal issues they cant focus or bring anywhere close to 100% to their workplace.  These scenarios happen in all other kinds of jobs, but never within the teaching industry, amazing.

          •  and in your world unions protect bad teachers (0+ / 0-)

            and no one can get rid of them. Which is pure bullshit. In fact I have seen the union over 25 years NOT defend teachers who were undeserving. So stuff it.

            •  I see you want no real discussion, you just (0+ / 0-)

              want to "be right" and shut down conversation by attacking and being disrespectful, ok, good to know.

            •  I would think that the situations between unions (0+ / 0-)

              and school districts differ from state to state and district to district. There is no uniformity, so I can see that both parties could be right. This heterogeneity also makes it easier for the corporatists to levy divisive generalizations which create discord among the proponents of public education. What is true in one case cannot be extended into a hypothetical norm. This is a matter that would need solid statistical support.

              "The economy and the environment are, in fact, permanently intertwined. A healthy economy depends on a healthy environment. Can't have one without the other." -- Meteor Blades

              by politically indigo on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:34:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Obviously the thing to do is emulate (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elfling, kipz, varro, FarWestGirl, drklassen

        private industry, and promote that teacher to an administrative position at twice the salary and half the hours.

        Or offer a golden parachute.

        "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

        by Orinoco on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 09:18:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm sick of this canard, too. Blame the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mkor7

          administrators, who do NOT work "half the hours" for exorbitant pay.  Again with the rightwing talking points.  The privateers' whole strategy is to pit the teachers and administrators against each other with glib narratives like that.

          If the plutocrats begin the program, we will end it. -- Eugene Debs.

          by livjack on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 08:22:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm not saying school administrators (0+ / 0-)

            work half the hours for exorbitant pay. I am saying IF public schools followed a corporate model, they would figure out a way to deal with people they could not fire but were roadblocks, namely: 'promoting' them to a sinecure or easing them out with a buyout.

            "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

            by Orinoco on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:27:16 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  The time and effort to remove a teacher (6+ / 0-)

        can be pretty dependent on local circumstances.

        In most cases, the teacher chooses not to fight. In most cases, when they do, the cost is still pretty reasonable.

        LAUSD is certainly by far in the worst position for removing teachers. They have had terrible administrators for years and the sheer size seems to create all kinds of issues.

        It's also common for a district to consider that the cost of an early retirement package might be less than the legal fight. Of course, that's not always an option and sometimes it's just not palatable.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 09:34:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Gee, an actual thoughtful response, thanks. In (0+ / 0-)

          this specific circumstance the teacher is very much fighting, which as you can imagine has caused a lot of friction within the community.  

          •  If this were my problem (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            zmom, musiclady, mkor7, mchristi314

            I'd seriously analyze why the teacher is fighting and how it could potentially be solved with a mutually agreeable plan. Once you've started down the road to the CPC hearing, it may be too late.

            These questions I'm going to pose aren't anything you should answer in public, but useful for considering the issues, so please don't reply to them here. :-)

            So the first question would be: what is objectionable about the teacher, and does he bring anything useful to the table? Is there work this teacher might do where the teacher might be an asset? What about sending this teacher for professional development, perhaps lots of it? Sometimes teachers come back energized. Sometimes a change of assignment is useful either in getting the teacher to decide that teaching isn't fun any longer, or in reenergizing a teacher.

            Is it a health issue? Might it be something that will resolve? Is this teacher eligible for disability?

            Might it be possible to steer this teacher into a new career? What expertise does he have that might make for an agreeable and successful change?

            Why does the teacher want to stay? How many years is he from retirement? How many years is his spouse from retirement? Before the Affordable Care Act, this could be a BFD as to why a retirement age teacher didn't want to retire, because a spouse or child was dependent on his employer health insurance.

            The union doesn't get to pick and choose who it defends. It is like an insurance company in that way, when certain events are triggered, its job is to ensure the process is followed.

            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

            by elfling on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 11:03:31 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I appreciate your thoughts, thank you. Your (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              elfling, mkor7

              mention of health issues before the ACA is an interesting one.  This person does have health issues, so that could be a reason - maybe there will be some movement by the end of the school year.  

              •  The person (and the people negotiating) (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                zmom

                may not realize that ACA now allows them to purchase health insurance even with preexisting conditions.

                In a retirement/disability situation, the employee may be able to get coverage via STRS but other family members were on their own when the employee retired.

                It can also be possible for the district to continue to purchase insurance for the spouse as part of a retirement incentive situation, and that can be structured so that the employee pays all, the district pays all, or something in between.

                It used to be possible to set up packages with a guaranteed consulting arrangement; there may be some STRS issues with that now. But basically, you might do that because the teacher wants to retire but you really need his expertise for say an accreditation report that will be due, or because you want him to work part time overseeing adoption of common core. This can be a way to soften the separation in a mutually beneficial way.

                Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                by elfling on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 12:41:00 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  Where I work it isn't the union that is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elfling

      causing us to keep bad workers longer, it is the judges that reduce or throw out our work.  Unfortunately, sometimes a manager has to practically have a law degree to have their paperwork hold up.

      Where I work there is an unwritten rule, 3 adverses before termination.  Generally, getting three adverses takes at least 12 months and more like 18 months, which is a long time to deal with substandard work, but once again that isn't the union's fault, that is the level of work expected by the courts.

      "I watch Fox News for my comedy, and Comedy Central for my news." - Facebook Group

      by Sychotic1 on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 06:54:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  a few billionaires (5+ / 0-)

    have been claiming recently that they are the ones that work the hardest and its not the 99%.

    i would agree they do work hard in attempting to screw the rest of america and take away our right to an even chance at the american dream.

    if that's the work ethic they are talking about they are correct but, if you take into account down and dirty get your hands dirty work they have never soiled anything more than their reputations in the behavior they have participated in while trying to game the system even more than it is in their favor now and to the detriment of everyone else.

    save america defeat all republicans and conservatives.

  •  Here's what I think... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moviemeister76

    Resources here in California for Education are in short supply. Meanwhile Silicon Valley needs well educated high school and college graduates. So I think they are taking steps that will focus the money in a way that will increase the supply of high school and college graduates that satisfy their needs.

    How do they accomplish this goal?

    IMHO they do what they can to get the dollars to the schools and students that will deliver what they need.

    Silicon Valley wants the dollars to follow to the schools that are most likely statistically to deliver the folks they need to hire.

    So they focus on those who are already making it and want to forget about the rest. Beyond the top performing students they don't give a shit period.

    My invisible imaginary friend is the "true" creator

    by Mr Robert on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 06:18:09 PM PDT

    •  That's one explanation. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mr Robert, 2dot

      The other, simpler explanation is that they turn to H1Bs and teleworkers from other countries.

      Given the nature of the billionaire "Master of the Universe" class, I'd say the second explanation is more likely, because it keeps more money in their pockets.

      "There was no such thing as a "wealthy" hunter-gatherer. It is the creation of human society that has allowed the wealthy to become wealthy. As such, they have an obligation to pay a bit more to sustain that society than the not-so-wealthy." - Me

      by Darth Stateworker on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 07:11:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Probably just hedging their bets (0+ / 0-)

        The H1B quotas and requirements vary and that source might dry up to some extent. So I think the native born represent a backup and given the shortage of available funding they would rather see it to to the children of the top 10 percent.

        My invisible imaginary friend is the "true" creator

        by Mr Robert on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 08:19:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  brain drain nations (0+ / 0-)

          are too scr#ewed up to halt the brain drain for at least 10 years.
          the masterrace doesn't plan 10 years in advance.

          ♥ Repeal the Capital Gains, Carried Interest & Dividends Entitlements bequeathed to 'more special' taxpayers.

          by in on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 12:39:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  brain drain nations (0+ / 0-)

          are too scr#ewed up to halt the brain drain for at least 10 years.
          the masterrace doesn't plan 10 years in advance.

          ♥ Repeal the Capital Gains, Carried Interest & Dividends Entitlements bequeathed to 'more special' taxpayers.

          by in on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 12:39:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  They don't care if they come from CA schools. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nominalize, 417els, drklassen

      They just want to privatize and monetize public education.

      America, where a rising tide lifts all boats! Unless you don't have a boat...uh...then it lifts all who can swim! Er, uh...um...and if you can't swim? SHAME ON YOU!

      by Back In Blue on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 09:34:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I doubt Silicon Valley cares about California (5+ / 0-)

      My husband works for a Silicon Valley company. And we live in North Carolina. A lot of those companies keep their base in California but hire mostly in "Right-to-Work" states. That's why the Research Triangle in North Carolina grew so much. It has pretty much the largest collection of Silicon Valley employees outside of California.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 10:39:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Two words: Football Fields (10+ / 0-)

    The biggest problem with the California school system is misplaced priorities at the district level. You always hear stories of teachers and parents buying school supplies because their is never enough funding for the basic essentials. Ever noticed that funding for brand new, state of the art football fields are never in short supply?

    When my late father lived in Sacramento County, he would always point out a school that can't afford whatever for their students but is building a brand new football field.

    These football fields were always for the boys. If a girl soccer team wanted a new soccer field, forget about it.

    Until the shrines to the jocks are torn down, nothing will change.

    •  That may be true (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      417els, wilywascal, Sychotic1

      But on the HS football field front, Texas still takes the cake for misplaced priorities.

      http://msn.foxsports.com/...

      That's just one recent example in the news.

      "There was no such thing as a "wealthy" hunter-gatherer. It is the creation of human society that has allowed the wealthy to become wealthy. As such, they have an obligation to pay a bit more to sustain that society than the not-so-wealthy." - Me

      by Darth Stateworker on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 07:13:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I hear ya (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      slothlax, koosah, mkor7

      but it's not quite so.

      First, money for facilities is always in a different stream than operations. Facilities might be funded by one time money or a bond, while supplies and salaries have to be funded from ongoing income. It's always easier to raise funds for a one time and flashy expense.

      Second, Title IX is actually pretty fierce on this point: opportunities for boys and girls have to match. If you spend X on the boys, you must also spend X on the girls. This is true of outside money as well as school funds.

      Still, there are plenty of schools where they have Algebra only because it's required in order to have the football team. I went to one.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 09:38:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The reason school sports exist (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elfling, belinda ridgewood, Sychotic1

      is so kids show up to school. In the old days when education wasn't as necessary as today, dropping out as a teenager was pretty common. You didn't need education to work on a farm or in a factory. Sports made the kids show up.

      Same thing today except for the fact that you can't make a living as a drop-out or even with just a HS diploma.

      •  Absolutely (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        belinda ridgewood

        At our school, sports is used as a lever to get kids to choose our school, to keep their attendance up, and to encourage them to improve their grades.

        It is a small school, so everyone who wants to play, can play. A bit more than half the kids at the high school elect to play some sport. So, at this school, it's all about participation rather than being a win-monster, and the girls especially have been very successful at winning the scholar-athlete recognition, where the whole team has to have a high GPA.

        If they don't come to school that day, they can't play, and if their grades dip below Cs, they're not eligible. The kids work together to make sure all the kids are getting their homework done.

        I am not entirely thrilled about the way sports are integrated into schools, and about the way that kids miss a lot of time for travel, but it can be a net positive.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 08:20:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for your first comments, kipz. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elfling

        It's a good point. Adults have made school sports into such a production, it's hard to remember sometimes that they appeal to the students. Whether or not the sports should be accorded as much importance as they are, they do keep some kids in school.

        Welcome from the DK Partners & Mentors Team. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Knowledge Base or from the New Diarists Resources Diaries. Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.


        Shop Kos Katalogue ❧ Help Okiciyap at Cheyenne River reservation.

        by belinda ridgewood on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 04:01:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think those old grads would agree (0+ / 0-)
    •  Athletics often have booster clubs... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elfling

      ....that support the teams, and admission and concessions also defray costs.  When I played football, we had "bench-a-thons" and "push-up-a-thons" - other students and parents donated a penny or nickel per pound you could bench-press - and that money added up.

      At least at my high school, the football field (now that it's artificial turf) hosts both boys' and girls' soccer teams and youth football and soccer teams from the community.

      You can't spell "Dianne Feinstein" without "NSA".

      by varro on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 12:45:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Supreme Court of California (0+ / 0-)

    will ultimately determine this.

    It currently has six Republican appointees and one Democratic appointee.

    This does not look good.

  •  Double-edged sword? (0+ / 0-)

    If the court rules that you have to strike down union protections because of right to adequate education, doesn't this open up saying that all schools have to provide roughly equal educations in financing, class sizes, teacher pay, etcetera, whether public or private?

    •  We already have that financing parity requirement (0+ / 0-)

      in California (from a previous court decision, Serrano) and actually, the state has just changed up the funding to what's called LCFF, which is Governor Brown's baby. LCFF puts most of the state funding streams into one bucket, divides by the number of kids, and sends every school the same amount. Then, there's a bonus grant for every child that is one of (english language learner, foster child, socioeconomically disadvantaged) and if more than half of your kids get bonus money, you get an extra bonus grant to make up for the concentration of disadvantaged kids.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 09:42:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  How much you wanna bet they don't do it to the (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nocynicism, elfling, slothlax, 417els, mkor7

    police? Those guys are armed and very organized. In my town, they can't be prosecuted or fired without three tiers of civil service appeals as well as the courts. They spend years investigating any incident, then there is the appeals process, can dismiss charges because the original investigation took too long.

    "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

    by shmuelman on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 07:00:52 PM PDT

  •  This is where we lose (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dumpster, mkor7

    We lost this type of battles and many others when the Vichy Dems of the party refused to filibuster Roberts and Alito, pretty much giving the SCOTUS to the conservatives.

    Sure, we get a victory now and then, but when it REALLY counts, say like civil rights issues or corporations buying elections, we lose.

    This is another case we will lose because it WILL be appealed to the SCOTUS and Kennedy will side with corporations yet again when it really matters.

    This country is pretty much finished.

  •  This case is won, look for massive strikes. (7+ / 0-)

    I'm not kidding. Schools will STOP.

    Period.

    All over the country.

    We are not going down without a fight.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 07:25:28 PM PDT

  •  This has been well covered at (9+ / 0-)

    EdSource.org, for anyone interested in additional reading, in particular:

    http://edsource.org/...

    I will quote from two comments from there:

    Brent Smiley says:
    January 23, 2014 at 2:43 pm
    I work with two of the teachers who are named in this lawsuit and they are two of the finest teachers in our state. One, an elderly teacher with over 30 years experience is on the cutting edge of Mathematics education. She is a National Board Certified Teacher who is the common core guru of our school and has held numerous training sessions and coaching sessions with individual teachers to help them change and adapt into the modern methodology of instruction. By the way, I’m not just defending one of my own, in addition to being a member of the same faculty, she was the teacher of my daughter two years ago and single-handedly changed her entire outlook on Math. The root of her being named in this lawsuit is the fact that the student whose parents brought the lawsuit claim the teacher was ineffective because their daughter got a “D” in the class after having always gotten “A”s. What they failed to consider is that their daughter was a gifted child sitting in an honors class and never broke a sweat during elementary school while maintaining straight A’s. Meanwhile, once she came to attend our Gifted Magnet and was surrounded by her peers, the child needed to bust her rear end to get her grades.

    This lawsuit seeks to define ‘good’ teachers as young teachers and ‘bad’ teachers as older teachers. If the judge rules in their favor, he will destroy the entire concept of what good teaching is and how we define it.

    Manuel says:
    January 23, 2014 at 9:26 pm
    I can’t believe it. My three children were taught math by this same teacher and I have nothing but praise for her. There is no way she can be termed a grossly ineffective teacher.

    There is no way this teacher would have been hired as a member of any gifted school if she was ineffective. I never heard any complaints about her in my eight years of involvement with the school. And now she is being accused of being ineffective by a disgruntled parent? Unbelievable.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 09:18:52 PM PDT

  •  This has nothing to do with unions (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    417els, koosah, elfling

    or any economic matters at all. It's just a bunch of old, mostly white people who believe that their riches make them superior to others. Therefore, they believe, they have the right to tell anyone else what to do. It's a hubris that comes from being rich that somehow by gaining wealth, you now have the ability to solve all problems - logic or common-sense be damned! It's not to actually help anyone, it's just to say, "I'm right!"

    They think that running schools like a business is what needs to happen. But if they fail, they'll just behave like any other corporation - bail at the sight of any trouble leaving the public and students to deal with the mess they create.

    Michelle Rhee is someone I can't fucking stand. She really hates poor people, or others who she feels are "less" than herself. You can see it when she talks about schools and children in them.

    Public schools are generally pretty good. Public institutions have standards that are decided by consensus by groups of people who have experience and education in educating young people. I went to both public and Catholic schools, and the public schools were way better. The problem lies in the fact that public schools have to take all comers, and in a large, diverse state like CA, our schools look worse than they are due to our size. We have a huge % of students that can't speak English, poverty in some areas, and uneducated immigrant parents who don't know how to support their students educations. Even despite these issues, we still do a pretty good job of educating our students.

    •  It has plenty to do with economic matters (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mkor7, Sychotic1, mchristi314

      As a 38 year , National Board Certified veteran my system could get rid of me and hire 2 newbies with benefits for the same amount they spend on me.

      I believe this is entirely about money.  Privatize for profit and get the cheapest teachers you can right out of college.  Churn and burn.  That's the name of the game.

      “It is the job of the artist to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare say things that no one else will say."—Howard Zinn

      by musiclady on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 12:33:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Right wing plutocrats: Creating ex-pats at an (0+ / 0-)

    alarming rate. Pretty soon there will be a mass exodus back to Europe and points beyond. And it will number in the millions, just the way it did when they all came in around the turn of the 20th century.

  •  Privatizing schools will only benefit the wealthy (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mkor7, Chet13, belinda ridgewood

    Kids in poor school districts will not benefit from privatizing schools, and I’ve yet to see an instance where the GOP penchant for privatizing traditionally government run services has saved the tax payers a dime.  It turns the schools into a for profit enterprise, meaning they will take tax dollars and cut as many school programs as possible in order to make a profit.   In any system, private or public there are problems, and sure there are going to be some tenured teachers who are less than stellar, but I truly believe that is an exception.  I know many teachers (and no I’m not in anyway involved in the education system), who are hard working and dedicated, even passionate about educating the students in the public school system.  School resources have been cut so drastically, that most teachers pay for supplies out of their own pockets, and in really poor districts, even buy note books, pens and paper for their students.  I know a teacher who is chair of her department who tells me they don’t even have a budget to make copies of tests, or make handouts to give to students etc.  Going paperless is good I guess, but not all students have the advantage of having a computer or tablet.  So tests must be shown on a overhead, or printed on the blackboard.  As far as info that needs to be given that is not contained in a text book, students must spend valuable class time copying it down, or in my friends case, she spends her own money to make copies.   The state has taken so much money from the school budget to use for other NON education projects, always promising to pay it back, but they never do.  If they would leave the money earmarked for education alone and use it as intended just maybe we would have the budget to educate our kids, and to hire the best and brightest Teachers.  AS it is, we are losing our best teachers to the private sector.  Countries whose students have the highest test scores are the countries who pay their teachers a good wage, where being a teacher is something to aspire to.  In the past years a trend has started, where we demonize teachers, try to break their unions, take money from the educational budget and even the teachers pension plans.   Yes we need to improve our education system, but handing over to a for profit system (and that is what privatization is), is not going to solve any of our problems, if anything it will make it worse, and the kids most at risk, will receive any less  of an education than they do now.

  •  A slight correction on Proposition 13 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wilywascal

    You wrote, "California's schools were among the best in the nation all the way through the 1970s, when voters approved Proposition 13, which significantly decreased the amount of revenue collected from property taxes..."

    I would say "significantly restricted increases in property tax revenue' instead of "significantly decreased..."

    For those not familiar with the infamous Prop 13, it limited year-over-year increases in the assessed value of a property to, I believe, 0.5% unless the property was sold or significantly modified (such as building a new house on a lot).

    Essentially, it was an "I've got mine, screw the rest of you!" kind of measure, which allowed existing homeowners (including elderly residents who, of course, came out to vote in greater numbers than younger renters and prospective first-time homeowners) to remain in their houses as assessed values of neighboring houses skyrocketed.  In effect, existing homeowners are subsidized by new home purchasers.

    My family is an excellent case in point.  My parents bought their Bay Area house in the late 1950's, so their assessed value has increased by that Prop 13-limited percentage since the measure passed in 1978.  My brother, who bought a mirror-image house on an identical lot right next door -- they share a fence -- in the late 1990's or very early 2000's, is likely paying 10 times the property taxes for essentially the exact same property.

    Prop 13 has spawned a whole slew of measures to try and minimize its effects on certain groups.  For example, since California high tech companies often relocate or open new facilities elsewhere in the state, I'm told a number of counties put in place reciprocal agreements, so selling a house in one county and buying in a different county within a year or two won't trigger a reassessment on their new home.  And a few years ago, there was a measure to exempt veterans who buy a new house from suffering the full effects of a reassessment.

    Now, while I'm grateful that my parents (now just my Mom) could stay in the area by avoiding the full impact of property tax increases, I'm not sure that grandfathering in a homeowner whose $17,000 1950's house is worth over a million while simultaneously screwing first-time homeowners, schools, public works projects, and city/count/state services was a good thing...

  •  Reform (0+ / 0-)

    The reality is the tenure system is broken. It has become a tradeoff/justification for low pay to teachers. You can not have the pay scales that exist (for teachers, not educators) without the tenure system. The problem then being getting rid of bad teachers, and while we like to sugar-coat it, there are thousands of them! I worked my way through undergrad tutoring about 50 different high-school kids in chemistry and math at what are considered very good public schools in orange county. I recall one instance where I had to get a letter from a professor at UC Irvine to take to the principal of a local high-school explaining why the chemistry teacher was wrong and was teaching the wrong answer to several problems, this was after a month of back and forth with that teacher and the principal over an exam where a student was marked wrong for correct answers! How many kids did that teacher impact, how many were turned off to science forever by her? I googled her when I saw this and she is still a chemistry teacher there... hope she as at least learned a bit more about equilibria.

  •  Same Old, Same Old (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mchristi314

    Corporations and the wealthy have been attempting to privatize every aspect of American life for decades, including our military and border control. What's new?

    •  You might read ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... the decision in, Heller v. D.C. In the syllabus to that decision, the Court notes that the 2nd Amendment recognized the apprehension of a "politicized army," in opposition to which the notion of a citizens' militia (and a citizen's possession of adequate arms) was due. One might has supposed that a liberal, preferring a compelling argument against the 2nd Amendment and an individual right to "keep and bear arms," would see and approve of the imperative of obviating that apprehension by removing our armed forced from political control.

      Ah - but (allow me to quote Doyle's, "White Company") - "Learning and grace ever go together".

      All joking aside, however, Art. I, Sec. VIII,empowers Congress - and, thus, charges - Congress with more than it does well in itself. There is, therefore, every reason to divest Congress of every other function it has assumed, and not done well, until its Art. I, Sec. VIII, powers are much more nearly perfectly discharged, returning all else to the private sector which, as with the Wollman Rink, is much more competent to perform well anything but failure.

  •  Don't expect (0+ / 0-)

    Much Dem resistance. The current Deadocratic Party has no use for unions, worships Silicon Valley, and would spit on Roosevelt's grave.

  •  Never ever trust republican (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Velvetus

     billionaires. Let see what we got here, bust Unions, bring in Charter Schools owned by republican billionaires. Charge the districts, counties and states the same or more. Pay the teachers much much less and with NO benefits, no vacation, no medical,  no dental, no vision and no pension. One hundred percent of the huge net in profits goes to the republican billionaire owners of the charter schools, and the billionaires taxes probably go back down to or below the previous figures. Also the republican billionaire owners will have a say into what the teachers teach, and how they teach it. I bet the word ( evolution ) never ever reaches the ear drums of the children. People, its all about making the rich, wealthy, elite republicans richer, breaking unions, getting their real estate taxes reduced, and teaching the herds of poor peasants only what the rich, wealthy, elite republican want them to know. Simple, and you are all simple if you don't believe it.  

    •  What you are descibing is corporate communism. (0+ / 0-)

      China's educations system popped into my head when I was reading your post. If people in the U.S. want to know hat the billionaires want the U.S. to look like, they need only look at China, a one-party dictatorship in the thrall of the corporations. Only in this case the party in control would be the Republicans.

      "The economy and the environment are, in fact, permanently intertwined. A healthy economy depends on a healthy environment. Can't have one without the other." -- Meteor Blades

      by politically indigo on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 06:40:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That should be "what the billionaires want" (0+ / 0-)

        Should have proofread before I posted.

        "The economy and the environment are, in fact, permanently intertwined. A healthy economy depends on a healthy environment. Can't have one without the other." -- Meteor Blades

        by politically indigo on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 06:42:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Education problems? Blame it on the teachers. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mchristi314

    When I went to school and I had a bad grade my parents were all over me.  Now it seems, if Johnny gets a bad grade his parents are all over the teacher.  Hmm, I wonder where the real problem lies.

    Public education has been the mainstay of of our democracy.  Those who oppose real democracy are trying to disassemble (read privatize) our educational system.  

    Watching our nation unravel.

    •  There seems to be a disconnect between (0+ / 0-)

      actual learning and grades. Grades are seen to be subjective and negotiable and subject to the teacher's whims rather than as a reflection of how well the child understands the subject. The teacher is no longer considered an authority with respect to the subject matter, the child's performance or the resulting grade.

      People seem to think that a "C" is a bad grade, when actually it should be a somewhat higher than normal baseline that demonstrates adequate competence in a subject. However, to appease parents and college admission departments, and state and federal financing and regulating bodies this baseline has been moved to a "B" and even an "A" depending on the school. This grade inflation has slowly crept into the colleges as well.

      Why people can't see that this debasement of learning is a problem is baffling. It is catering to the conservative notion of "Ive got mine, so screw you." The idea that there should be community standards opposes this conservative idea because according to the standard most people should get a "C," and a "C" isn't going to make it any easier to get yours. I think that one of the reasons that a college education is no longer as valuable is that colleges are teaching things that should have been mastered in high school. If a student with an inflated "A" is really a "C" student then that student may be competent, but has not necessarily mastered the subject enough to comfortably make the transition to college and succeed.

      There are still good students, but siphoning the better students into honors programs exaggerates the problem, not to mention giving the better students an unrealistic social environment that disallows them forming a true picture of how they fit into the rest of the school population and society. Honors programs foster an elitist rather than a community mindset. Segregating people for any reason is not a good strategy for building community empathy.

      Garrison Keillor's Lake Woebegone where "all of the students are above average made fun of this situation, but winking at the problem has only helped to legitimize it.

      "The economy and the environment are, in fact, permanently intertwined. A healthy economy depends on a healthy environment. Can't have one without the other." -- Meteor Blades

      by politically indigo on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 07:57:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Michelle Rhee is possessed by the devil (0+ / 0-)

    or Jack Welch. Neither alternative is pretty. She's also the first lady of Sacramento. Ewwwwww!

    Students First is an astroturf organization bent on destroying employment protections for our teachers. When our teachers are sad, so are our kids.

    Rhee's misrepresentations about this being about keeping Students First is pure malarky.

    •  That is the typical tactic of doublespeak. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dconrad

      Freedom = Slavery. As much as Orwell has been taught in the schools, people still don't seem to get it. This is "1984."

      "The economy and the environment are, in fact, permanently intertwined. A healthy economy depends on a healthy environment. Can't have one without the other." -- Meteor Blades

      by politically indigo on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 08:00:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  labels (0+ / 0-)

    The party of the greediest of the wealthiest of the investor class -- the permanent minority -- and the haters and far-right-wing-nuts -- their hoard of follower class voting in a religious stupor (usually contrary to their own economic best  interest) have become very good at putting benign sounding labels on items on their insidious efforts to further their primary agenda to keep that ever-widening income/wealth gap ever widening still by nurturing ignorance.

  •  VERGARA V. CALIFORNIA (0+ / 0-)

    The time for talk is gone. Those of us who espouse progressive principles must take a stand against these wealthy individuals, who are bound and determined to destroy our state and country. It's pathetic what was done to California schools by the proponents of Proposition 13. I remember when California schools where the envy of the entire nation. Similarly, our universities were considered among the best in the world. And, in the name of enriching the wealthy at the expense of the poor and middle class, we sat back and allowed these people with their deceits, lies and misrepresentations to destroy our schools and universities, the very basis of our economy, which at that time was considered the 5th largest in the world. We've now have had a few decades of their "austerity" policies, which have brought us to the very brink of destruction as an enconomic leader and technological creator. Do we want this to continue? I for one don't and think we better get off our butts and fight, if we really want to stop these worthless human beings from doing anymore harm.

  •  No lawsuit is too "ridiculous" for wealthy folks. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    politically indigo

    Isn't it bad enough that Corporate America and the fat cats are enjoying the very best our country has to give them, and in the process, crapping all over the needs of the 99%? But now the special interest groups funded by the elite are trying to file lawsuits and legislate away what little remaining rights and privileges that have been left to average folks. Of course, attacking public schools just makes sense, because illiteracy and ignorance will go a long way in keeping the poor guy down. Lest we forget, the rich plantation owners of the Deep South in the years preceding the Civil War didn't allow their slaves to be educated either, because a little knowledge might make those silly Negroes get all uppity, instead of keeping them stupid and unquestioning in their own designated place of servitude.

    Education should be placed at the forefront of our country's domestic issues, and the problems facing our public school systems need to be addressed so that EVERY child can benefit from having not only a decent, but a GOOD education. After all, America's children represent our future, and crappy public schools aren't going to get us where we need to go with our upcoming generations and moving the nation forward to be competitive with the rest of the world.

    The majority of average people aren't pissing and moaning and asking for some kind of socialist income redistribution. What they ARE asking for is a level playing field so that they have the same opportunity to succeed as the wealthy, and that includes access to a good education. Instead, as this diary demonstrates, Corporate America and the 1% are trying to make the playing field MORE uneven by taking steps that would put struggling citizens at an even BIGGER disadvantage. This is some scary shit indeed.

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